I have written from time to time about the guys who go around and do “audits” of police departments, to see if the officers respect the rights of the photographers. I’ve also written about normal photographers and their interactions with the police. Sometimes the police really screw up and arrest the photographer, sometimes not, merely detaining them without cause.
And every once in a while, one of these activists will really entertain us, because they know more about what they are doing than the police do. This is one of those cases.
Here the officer, presumably a US Border Patrol officer, stops to see what the photographer is doing (at 4:37 on the tape). The photographer, who goes by the nickname of SAEXTAZYPREZ, has a bit of an interaction with him, and is winning the battle of wits when the officer stops using a shovel to dig the hole and starts up a back-hoe.
At 5:10, after flashing his ID card so fast that no one can reasonably be expected to see what it says, the officer says that he’s a private citizen and doesn’t want his picture taken.* And SAEXTAZYPREZ’s response is classic.
Well, you got out and came in front of my camera, man. You got yourself on camera. That’s not very smart.
The officer gets a dumb look on his face, sort of a Homer Simpson “doh” look, says “really?” and walks back to his car. And SAEXTAZYPREZ gives him some good advice:
It you don’t want to be on camera, don’t step in front of one, man.
I don’t believe that you can state it any clearer. If you see a guy filming, and you don’t want your picture taken, don’t confront the guy with the camera.
There are some other issues in the video, but I’m not going to address those, they happen all the time on these types of contact.
*First, he’s not a private citizen if he’s a federal officer, he’s a public official, and subject to having his photograph taken by any citizen whenever he’s in a public place, see Turner v. Driver, No. 16-10312, ___ F.3d ___, slip op. at 12 (5th Cir., Feb. 16, 2017).